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Regression Discontinuity

Edited by: Published: 2010
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Regression discontinuity (RD) is a two-group, pre-post, quasi-experimental method for evaluating the effect of an intervention. Assignment to the experimental or comparison group is based on the value of some variable. That variable can be either the baseline value of the outcome itself or some other variable. The effect of the intervention is assessed by looking at the discontinuity of the regression lines between the groups at the cutoff point.


The RD design was introduced in 1960 by Donald Thistlewaite and Donald Campbell to evaluate the effects of compensatory educational interventions. Since that time, it has been used in areas such as criminal justice, social welfare, economics, and pharmaceutical health services research, although it is still a relatively rarely used design. Indeed, a recent search of ...

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